Skip directly to content

Research Vessel Cape Hatteras

Sub Type:
Research Areas:
NSF Award:

Ship Operations: R/V Cape Hatteras  (Duke University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Research Vessel Cape Hatteras is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the Duke University/University of North Carolina Oceanographic Consortium as a part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet. UNOLS brings academic institutions and national laboratories involved in oceanographic research to coordinate the schedules of oceanographic ships and research facilities.

The 135-foot vessel was built in 1981 and is used for regional operations, primarily off the coast of North America from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean. Its scientific equipment includes a CTD system (an instrument package with cylindrical sampling bottles and instruments for measuring the conductivity, temperature and depth of water) and other instruments for seawater sampling and analysis, corers and related seafloor sampling equipment, echo sounding and seismic equipment, and other instruments and sensors. The Cape Hatteras can accommodate 14 scientists including a marine technician and a crew of 10.

Education & Outreach

The research programs supported by the Cape Hatteras address a number of issues of societal importance, including the role of the oceans in climate change, the transport and impact of contaminants from fresh-water inputs into the oceans, preservation and changes of biogenic fossil materials over time, and understanding the carbon cycle. The proposed cruises have graduate student and post-doctoral personnel participating and, as a result, contribute to professional education and development.

To help foster interest in ocean science, the Consortium will continue its cooperative work with local high schools and Carteret Community College, give annual tours of Cape Hatteras for the East Carteret High School Marine Biology classes, and offer high school and middle school science teachers the opportunity to sail with the North Carolina State University undergraduate techniques class. In addition, ship tours are offered to undergraduate and graduate students who take courses at the Duke University Marine Laboratory.

Visit Web Site


  • Research vessel Cape Hatteras
Scott Taylor

Award Highlights Related to This Asset

Recovery of water samples

Propane Respiration Jump-starts Microbial Decomposition of Oil Released from Deepwater Horizon

Study allowed researchers to predict how the oil plumes would evolve in the months after well was sealed...

Research Areas: Earth & Environment, Biology

more >>